Friday, March 2, 2012

Down Day All Around as Week Ends; Spain says 'No' to Austerity

Either everybody and their brothers-in-law were taking profits on Friday or there's some kind of disturbance in the Force, because not only were stocks down, but so were oil, gold and silver.

Just for the record, it was another brutally low volume day in equities and very light on economic data. Sure enough, however, our friends in Europe attempted to make things interesting as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defied his EU overlords in Brussels by setting a softer budget target than originally agreed upon.

The targeted budget deficit for 2012 was supposed to be no larger than 4.4 percent of GDP, but Rajoy targeted a deficit that will amount to 5.8 percent of assumed GDP.

Of course, the numbers game is a nebulous one, especially considering Spain's unemployment rate hovering around 20% nationwide.

As EU leaders prepared for a summit beginning Saturday in Brussels, they were greeted by hundreds of union protesters railing against austerity. Similar protest were held in Greece and Spain. Across Spain, students protested cuts to education budgets and the demonstrators clashed with police in Barcelona.

The Spanish demonstrations were large, estimated in the tens of thousands.

Back here on planet America, there were no protests of any size to speak of, though it seemed like everyone was more in a mood to forget about money and budgets and just go home for the weekend.

Dow 12,977.57, -2.73 (0.02%)
NASDAQ 2,976.19, -12.78 (0.43%)
S&P 500 1,369.63, -4.46 (0.32%)
NYSE Composite 8,125.17, -49.94 (0.61%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,754,632,875
NYSE Volume 3,346,330,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1748-3844
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 185-42 (beginning of convergence?)
WTI crude oil: 106.70, -2.14
Gold: 1,709.80, -12.40
Silver: 34.52, -1.14

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